Regardless of whether you think Newt Gingrich should be the Republican nominee for president, conservatives should agree on one thing. Newt is not doing himself any favors with these new-found attacks on Mitt Romney and the former governor’s tenure at consulting firm Bain Capital. There has been much banter amongst the conservative media outlets about Gingrich using the “language of the left” and sounding more like a Democrat than a “Reagan Convervative” – as he claims he has always been.
Enjoying his position as the GOP frontrunner during December, Newt was slammed by a negative Romney-PAC ad campaign in Iowa that clearly cost him a respectable showing in the caucus. He finished in fourth place, failed to gain any momentum heading into the New Hampshire primary, and even more significantly, lost all the steam he had built up during his impressive debate performances. Despite receiving the endorsement of the Union Leader in the Granite State, Newt again finished in fourth place with less than 10% of the vote.
If I were Newt, I’d be ticked off too. The truth of the matter is that pro-Romney advertising crushed his campaign in Iowa and he has slumped since then – no longer identifying as the “anti-Romney” candidate or the alternative to Romney that some perhaps thought he could be. Unfortunately, his attacks against Romney are misplaced. He should be going after Romney if he wants to win the nomination, but he’s missing the point that most conservatives want driven home. The focus of the general election is going to be on Obama and we need a strong conservative candidate that is going to be able to articulate conservatism and clearly highlight the strong contrast between conservative ideology and Obama’s progressivism, liberalism, what have you. We don’t need another John McCain receiving the nomination. We don’t need another weak moderate. You saw how that worked out in 2008. With that being said, many feel that Romney is nothing more than another McCain moderate. I happen to agree with this assertion. Mitt is not a conservative, period. He governed a very liberal state, with a liberal legislature, and a largely liberal electorate. He took moderate to liberal stances on social issues to get elected and is responsible for implementing state-run health care in Massachusetts – which was the model for ObamaCare. Newt’s focus should be on Romney’s weak conservative record and his support for government-run health care.
Demonizing capitalism and the free market is not a ticket to ride for Newt. If he wants to make a serious run at the nomination, which I believe he does, then there has to be a concerted effort from his campaign to go after Romney’s lack of conservatism, not his record with Bain. If he continues down this path, Newt will lose any of the remaining support he still has and his chances of winning the nomination will continue to fade as we head into the spring.